When preparing to sell your home, it’s often a good idea to stage your property, highlighting its best features with presentation and decor. But how exactly does an effectively staged home entice buyers? Let’s break down the science of staging and look at some tips for appealing to the senses.

Sight: When staging your home for prospective buyers, you should take steps to let in as much natural light as possible. Remove thick, heavy curtains and blinds, and avoid blocking windows with furniture. Use lamps with high-wattage bulbs to illuminate spaces that don’t receive much outdoor light.

Another way to appeal to buyers’ sense of sight: show them more of the room. Remove all excess furniture and clutter to make your spaces feel bigger. When it comes to paint and decor, stick with colors and designs that are muted and neutral. This will leave more to the imagination, allowing visitors to create their own vision of the room, instead of limiting them to yours.

Touch: Physical discomfort can negatively affect mood and perspective, so take care to ensure that your home provides a cozy, clean environment. Adjust the thermostat to ensure the temperature is perfect before buyers arrive. Make sure the surfaces in your home are spotless: there’s nothing worse than putting your hand on a table, only to come away with grime or dust.

When it comes to furniture and fabrics, make sure you’re showing off your sturdiest and most comfortable pieces. Even though your visitors aren’t buying that scratchy couch or rickety table, they may still project that cheap quality onto their surroundings.

Hearing: Depending on where you live, ambient noise from outside your home can be a blessing or a liability. If you’re in a city, you’ll want to minimize street noise by keeping your windows closed. Conversely, if your yard plays host to songbirds, you might consider leaving your windows open.

Speaking of songs, you can also use sound actively in your staging. By playing soft, slow, classical music, you can provide buyers with a comfortable atmosphere to contemplate your space. Be sure to keep it simple, quiet, and consistent—after all, you don’t want to distract buyers from their big decision.

Smell: Few characteristics will put off home buyers more quickly than a bad odor. If you have lots of carpets or rugs, make sure they’ve been steam cleaned thoroughly before you start showing your home. Get the dog or cat out of the house, or, if they must stay, make sure they’ve been bathed recently. Open the windows to let fresh air in at least ten minutes before buyers arrive.

You may have heard stories about baking cookies or lighting scented candles to entice buyers. While pleasant odors can have a positive impact, it’s important to keep your efforts subtle and simple. An overpowering smell, no matter how sweet, will reduce buyers’ focus and undermine your staging efforts.

Taste: Unless you’re hosting an open house, buyers’ sense of taste isn’t likely to enter the equation very much. That said, some strategically placed candies or homemade chocolate chip cookies probably couldn’t hurt!